When we plan a trip, we ask ourselves, even subconsciously – private or group tour. There are different kinds of destinations – some are easy accessible and some are more complicated to organize a tour in them and most people would be afraid to go there alone.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are so called Baltic States are easy accessible countries and it is safe to travel here. Many travelers combine these countries into one tour of 9-14 days tours, depending on the extent if interest or wish to spend time for leisure.
Nowadays the travel technology is so developed and the amount of the information is so big, that potential travelers became much more self-confident making a decision to take an individual or so called private tour.
At the same time, it is a matter of fact that even with a very good level of a preparation for a tour when you find yourself finally in a country you dreamt to visit – it appears to be different from what you have prepared yourself for.
And thanks God it is so, otherwise it would be boring to travel and travel industry would not grow annually about 10 – 12 percent globally!
We have started our business from mostly private tours and still do a lot of them. Let’s see what conclusions do we face based our long years’ experience and practice guiding private tours and what travel tips can be derived from all of that.
Private tour with a guide or on your own / self – driven tour?
Private self-driven tour is an adventure, a time with and for your family, adrenalin of doing it yourself, going wrong way, finding the way out and later telling your friends with a wide face smile that you did it all on your own.
Didn’t you notice that people tell you about the hardships of the journey with a happy smile? Yes, this is definitely the voice their self-pride – I did it!
Private tour gives you the freedom to wake up when you want to have lunch when you want and to juggle with plans and itinerary the way you want it. So, you have a lot of privacy and time to rethink and refile and, may be, recover after certain life experiences.
At this point we elevate a private guide to our scene. A person who does guided tours for living. There are different kinds of guides! You will tell me, and you are right, but here we speak about real professionals who have hundreds of tours on their portfolio.
It is like to go to a gym with a private coach or, if you want more color, it is like to jump with a parachute with or without an instructor.
Your private guide builds you an itinerary and later a detailed program of your tour considering must see places and sites and your individual preferences. He matches and tailors the tour to you.
In most of the cases the client does not feel it, but all private tours are unique because they are a result of an interaction between the traveler and the guide.
You get the guidelines of your tour on your mail box and at this point you start traveling to the Baltic States in your thoughts. Time preparing for a tour and waiting for it should be considered as integral part of a tour, as we build our expectations and then finally make a tour.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Charles R. Swindoll.
Benefits of a private tour with a guide in the Baltic States.
Many travel professionals outline the Price as the main Con of a private tour. Yes, it can be pricy, but do not forget to evaluate the Pros.
First, it is not so expensive to hire a private guide in the Baltic States, especially if you hire him or her for few day in a row. It is a well-known fact that the average level of guides is very high here.
In Jerulita Travel we have our own team of guides who work hitting very high standards, and if we use free-lancer service we are very picky choosing the right personality for your tour.
Second, do not forget the added value your guide will inhale into every site on the way. Do not forget the work of the back-office team who makes all the back-scene performance to assure your tour running smoothly.
Third, with a guide travelers fulfill much higher percentage of the program. You will be most probably met by your guide at 9 o’clock in the morning and will be busy with till 5, 6 p.m. or even later, depending on the driving distance. And all that time you are to enjoy the 3-D movie made specially for you.
Fourth, on self-exploring tour you might not know place and site which could be added to your tour and make the colors much stronger. You could also spend too much time in one place and miss the other one, while your guide is responsible to fulfill the whole program he promised you.
Fifth, you pay for the concentrated and relevant information provided by a guide. Yes, it is hard to measure it in advance, but if you get a good guide, you get tons of relevant information, stories, jokes, legends and topics to learn about mo
re when you get home.
Sixth, you pay for being driven and not to be bothered by renting a car, parking it, finding your way, filling the fuel, paying fines and, God protects, franchise for fixing scratches you even were not responsible for.
Seventh, if you are going to be only in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, then you will see only major cities with the most developed infrastructure, but you will not get the real flavor of the Baltic Republics.
The real flavor can be inhaled when you get out the beaten path and dive into small towns, meet locals who do not speak English and turn away being shy of not knowing a word to communicate.
Seeing their houses, gardens, cars and shops they buy in. As an experienced traveler, you know that such things stuck in our memories much stronger than another cathedral church.
Summarizing, I would suggest you planing a guided tour or if you prefer self-exploring one, at least take a guided tour in each big city on your way.
Advantages of a self-exploring tour in the Baltic States.
In one of my next travel tips I am going to detail more on self-exploring travel in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.